tv [untitled] April 15, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
children first and a concerted effort were made to get all and round up all the women an children and get them into the boats ahead of everybody else. as you can see here, first an second class did very well. they only lost 6.4% of their women and children. third class, almost 53% were lost. again, you could see that even though they said women and children first and we didn't discriminate. obviously the statistics speak for themselves. the rescue vessel was the "s.s. carpathia." the captain was captain arthur henry rostron. what we found out is what rostron thought he did that tight night and put into the historical record didn't actually happen. rostron thought because the sos was given out here, that he had to travel a distance of 58 miles.
he reached the sos position -- he reached the first boat about 4:10 a.m. and when he did the math, he came up and said we must have ran about 17 1/2 knots. it turns out that he overestimated his speed. and he overestimated the distance he ran. the reason is that titanic did not sink over here, but it actually sank up there where the wreck site is. at the time they reached the first boat, all the boats and the wreckage had drifted down to this point and we find that the actual distance that carpathia had to run was only maybe something less than 50 miles. and she never reached more than 15 1/2, maybe 16 knots which is much more reasonable. it turns out that carpathia, it would be impossible for her to reach 17 1/2 knots. normally full-ahead speed was 14. people came and were rescued by
carpathia. unfortunately what the striking thing was is that some of the life boats were less than half full. on the average, the total occupancy of the life boats were only 61% of their calculated or theoretical capacity. this picture shows one of the life boats known as collapsible lifeboat d with 35 people on board. it was rated to handle up to 47. the "s.s. californian," this is probably the most contentious issue you would ever find when you hear and people talk about titanic or at least amongst the researchers. this is the ship that stood still, the ship where it was witnessed that rockets were seen at night. in fact, they saw eight rockets come up in the distance and they did nothing.
they didn't move. they tried to signal a vessel that they saw by morse lamp but failed to achieve that. they didn't bother to wake up the wireless operator who would have found out immediately that there was pa vessel in distress. they didn't put two and two together even though their eyes were seeing rockets coming up between five and six-minute intervals, they just didn't believe that a vessel was in distress. part of the problem was the officer of the watch, second officer herbert stone, thought that when he saw rockets go up, he thought the ship that was firing the rockets was actually sailing off from the southeast to the southwest. he claimed under oath at the british inquiry that after the first rocket went up, the ship started to sail away and the rockets, the bearing to the rockets were following the ship. he also said the rockets seem to have come from beyond the ship, beyond this vessel that appeared
to be close by. he thought it was about five miles away. but the rockets he thought didn't go up high enough. he claimed it may have come from a ship behind. he was questioned about that and he said, well, why do you explain if it came from another ship behind as this vessel went away to the southwest, the rockets follow -- are on the same bearing. he said, yes, he thought about that, too. he said that says it didn't come from far away, it came from that ship he was watching. it turns out that there's nobody today -- once we now know the real position that the titanic went down -- that believes that the rockets came from any ship other than titanic. no matter where you want to put it, you call most prove that that's the case. what we have here is very concrete date and the evidence where we know where the rockets were sighted. we know the bearing. we know they were sighted to the south-southeast by compass from california. two independent officers had said that. we also know that titanic's distress rockets were seen by
both second officer stone and an apprentice, james gibson, that night and we also know that after they saw their eight rockets later in that night, they saw three more coming from the same -- more or less from the same direction, about 3:20 a.m. that's about an hour after titanic had gone down. we also know that carpathia was firing rockets to reassure titanic. carpathia didn't know titanic sank until they actually picked up the first boat. so what these people saw not only were the rockets coming from titanic but later, 3:20 a.m. they saw rockets being fired from carpathia. again, they didn't know this. what we are able to do in this book is analyze all the data available and much more so than what was done during a
reappraisal of the californian affair by the marine accident investigation branch of the british board of trade. we were able to actually come up with more or less a range of where we think californian really was in relation to titanic. what we did hear was take into account the bearing line that the rockets were south-southeast magnetic from californian by the two separate eyewitnesss, create what we call a line of bearing to titanic. we know exactly where titanic sank and the discovery of the wreck site which means by the time the titanic went down, the californian had to be somewhere along this line which actually is a line that runs northwest to southeast true. we could then take a line, a technique of navigators -- those of you who do some sailing know
-- where you could either advance or retire a line of position to a different point in time. we know the time californian came to a stop at 10:30 that night because of ice that it encountered ahead, we know it had to have been somewhere on this line, and we're able to estimate that the californian was somewhere between these two little points, basically at a distance between 12 to 14 miles from titanic. how did it get down there? let me just go back real quick. if californian was not affected by current, it should have been actually stopped at that point shown here on the chart, 42 degrees .2 north, 50 degrees .7 west.
instead we see it stopped six to seven miles further southward. the reason californian was sent southward was due to the fact that it entered the labrador current as it was heading westward. this chart is actually data from the californian. they actually measured air and sea temperatures. and you can see that between 12:00 noon and 4:00 p.m. april 14th there was a 20-degree drop in water temperature. you don't get that typically in the atlantic ocean, such a major drop, unless you're going from one type of water into another type of water. if they entered the labrador current, it tease same current that brought all the icebergs and pack ice so far south that year. some people say, if californian was affected by the current, why not the titanic. it turns out the titanic was affected by the same current.
we're able to plot the probable track lines, the tracks made good of both californian and titanic. the reason why titanic was not affected as much by the labrador current is that it was simply going twice as fast. it was going at 22 knots verses californian's 11 knots. it's about half the amount of time in that current before it came to a stop. therefore, it would be pushed southward by about half the distance. we also know that the two ships, even though they came to a stop, weren't stationary. they were swinging around in the current and light airs that existed. californian was swinging around a lot more than titanic over time. it wasn't just pointing in the same direction. it was turning around. we believe that the swing of californian in particular was not constant and it was not the same. it was somewhat erratic. at times if the swing was retrograde, was moving, instead of clock wise, but actually started to go counterclockwise for a few minutes and resumed
its natural swing. if the officers on the californian didn't realize that and they looked at this other vessel that was to the south-southeast and just watched it and didn't realize their ownership was swinging to the left instead of the right, it would give the appearance that that ship was actually moving away, as if it was going from southeast to southwest. we believe that's one of the things that may have led second officer stone to come to the conclusion this mystery vessel was firing rockets and while it was firing rockets, it was moving towards the southeast. another ship that reached the
area, that was in the area, was the mount temple. the mount temple was a vessel bringing a bunch of immigrants to canada, to st. john newfoundland and to halifax. normally the mount temple's path would have taken it to the corner point like all the other steam ships. from the corner they should have gone somewhat northward to a point off nova scotia. captain moore of mount temple received ice reports like titanic received ice reports. as a result of that he decided to be safe. he didn't slow down. but he decided not the turn the ship at the corner point here, but take the ship further south to a turning point that's located actually about -- almost 20 miles south of the now known titanic wreck site. the result of taking a ship about 20 miles further south is
he avoided all the ice and icebergs very easily. this would have extended if hit continued with his voyage. it would have extended his voyage maybe two hours more. talk about multiple-day voyage, what's two hours more? captain smith of titanic could have done more of the same. maybe he could have gone down also about 20 miles further south and then turned from new york, and the tragedy would have been totally avoided. at most titanic would have been an hour late getting in from what it would have done otherwise. mount temple was also interestingly enough -- it came up from the western side of the titanic wreck site and was stopped by the same large ice field that blocked titanic's path and that blocked the path of the californian. so they were trapped on the western side of the ice field where titanic had to stop on the eastern side. what captain moore did in the morning, he actually took a site
of the sun called a prime vertical, which precisely gives your longitude. based on the longitude that he knew his ship was at and knowing the reported sos position, he came to the very interesting conclusion and swore to this right here in washington before the senate inquiry that titanic never reached its sos position. it couldn't have reached it because it had to have sunk on the eastern side of this vast ice field which was anywhere from five to six miles wide. nobody believed him. what they believed was the sos position sent out by titanic's forth officer boxhall who calculated the position, and somewhere in calculating that position an error was made. we don't go into too much detail about how the error was made. we refers a document that does do that in the book. nonetheless, an error was made. and the calculated position. we know now titanic sank obviously on the eastern side of the ice field. and what this slide here shows,
the situation is between 6:00 and 6:30 in morning where the mount temple was located about here heading slowly northward after trying to find a path to cut across southward, they couldn't do that. they were heading northward here. they noticed the carpathia about eight to nine miles across the pack -- the ice field to the east picking up the life boats. at the same time they saw the californian at that time crossing the ice field up north about two to three miles wide, cutting across about the same distance north of them as carpathia was to the east of them. knowing these dimensions, we could again confirm that the
distance between californian and carpathia was something on the order of 12 to 14 miles, nautical miles apart. lastly, we also know that as a result of the tragedy there were changes made. i think most people know about the fact that the requirements on wireless operators is it has to be manned 24 hours or you need the device to be able to wake up a wireless operator should somebody be sending out an sos. but to white star line which suffered the loss of titanic, they had to modify both the olympic which was titanic's older sister ship, a year older, to put it -- to enhance their safety and also make changes to another titanic sister britannica that was actually being built at the time which included such things as increasing the height of watertight bulk heads and putting up double skins along the side. in a sense what they did was overreact to the tragedy. what happened to the titanic was not your typical type of
collision event which typically involves one ship with another or a ship with some other hard object. anyway, both of them had undergone extensive modification. we go through a list of what took place as a result of the titanic disaster. so there we have it. it's just a quick summary of what this book is about. it's a book about what did we learn in the hundred years since the tragedy. how has it changed what we knew then to what we know now. it was an interesting project for 11 of us. we're happy to have been able to get the book out by november of last year. so there we have it. [ applause ]
i think we have a few minutes to go through some questions. if anybody has any questions, please use the microphones along the sides so they can come through the taping. thank you. yes. >> fascinating talk. if titanic had gone hard in reverse or astern, i guess, instead of a turn, would that have made a difference, do you think? >> actually the report from one of the eyewitnesss was that the titanic's engines were put in reverse hard astern at the same time the order was given to turn the wheel. it turns out that even though that was claimed by fourth officer boxhall including the fact that he saw the telegraphs showing full astern we cannot confirm that by anybody down in the engine room.
there were a number of eyewitnesss of people down there who also testified. and what we do know is that titanic's engines did go astern, but it went astern after the ship had collided, about a minute to a minute and a half after. the truth of the matter is, there's just not tough time to take these reciprocating engines and throw them from full ahead to full astern. there's some amount of time -- and the engine room staff weren't on standby. there was nobody around really to quickly be able to maneuver the engines to do that. so to answer your question is they didn't have enough time for any change of the reversal of engines to have any effect whatsoever. plus the fact that titanic, the way the engines were -- the arrangement of engines on titanic, they had to cut out the central turbine engine which
was -- which ran the propeller directly ahead of the rudder. that propeller can't go in reverse. as a result of that, the turning ability of the ship would have been less if they had -- if the engines actually had gone into reverse than what they did with them going straight ahead. i'll take somebody on that side. >> a question on the life boats. i had heard that the thinking of the builders of the titanic and the sister ships was that these ships really were unsinkable and they didn't neat need life boats for their own crew and passengers. the only reason to have any life boats at all was to rescue other ships that might be in distress. is this true? how soon did it take white star and the others to realize they did need lifeboats and how soon did they increase the number of lifeboats on the titanic and what have you? >> the first part of the question has to do with the -- was it true that the -- purpose
reply built with fewer lightability because they thought it was unsinkable. the builders of the ship knew the ship was not unsinkable. there's unsinkable. there's no such thing as an unsinkable ship. even though it's referred to the ship as being practically unsinkable. so a lot of faith was placed in the watertight integrity of the vessel in terms of the bulkheads and how it was designed. titanic was designed to enable it to stay a flofloat. what people don't is she could stay afloat with almost three compartments totally flooded to sea. titanic was almost a three compartment vessel. the thinking -- the problem really with the life bolts was that the rules were wholefully
inadequate. they were from the late 1880s and they were never updated when ships became larger than 10,000 tons. and so the thinking was, well, yeah, the rules say we only need these many lifeboats and so forth, and so let's just put that many on. because the ship is practically unsinkable. not that it's unsinkable, but practically unsinkable. and if the lifeboats are used, as you pointed out, they would be used primarily in transferring passengers from a stricken ship to one that's there for rescue. as far as change to the lifeboat rules, that came almost immediately right after, it was obvious during the inquiries that how did this happen, how did you even let ships out there without enough lifeboats for all? and what some people don't know today is even on cruise ships, they do not have enough -- they do not support lifeboats for all. they have lifeboats and life
rafts for all. most cruise ships today have lifeboats that could accommodate all the passengers, but the crew, a lot of the crew is left being in life rafts. did i answer your question? okay. yes. >> apparently there was a mackey cable laying vessel that came in the next day and picked up a lot of the bodies. do you have any idea how far it had to steam to get to the wreckage site? >> the bennett, it was not the next day. it was several days later that they were sent out to, on a recovery mission. and they found a lot in areas that were a little to the eastward and north of the actual -- well, the s.o.s. position. nobody knew where the wreck site was. but the problem was that everything was affected by the currents and the wind conditions. i don't have the exact answer for you in terms of where or how far they had to steam out, but
pretty close maybe a little to the eastward and north of where the wreck is is where they wound up being. okay. yes? >> i remember in the movie version, there's this scene where the chief engineer rolls out a blueprint of the ship and says that the hull is divided into various compartments and i think it was something like, well, you know, if four of the compartments had filled up, but five of them had. and that that would cause the ship to founder. so could you maybe comment on the process of the water filling the hull and whether that was correct or if that was based on the gash theory? and then secondly, just curious what you would think if the ship had actually run aground dead on into the iceberg. was it an effective strategy to try to turn at all, would it have sunk faster? >> let's take the first part. what we know about titanic in terms of its design, that
titanic could have stayed of a afloat if the first four watertight compartments were completely open to the sea. it may have come down by an angle of 1 1/2 degrees, even less than i showed you in the first picture up there, but it would have stayed afloat. it could not stay afloat with the first five compartments open to the sea. it was never designed to do that. nobody ever imagined something that could open up five compartments to the sea. so that's why it was not designed to do more than that. so that part is true. what's not true is necessarily the picture of somebody opening up blueprints, you know, on the sinking ship. they probably didn't -- although tom sanders probably had those blueprints, he didn't need to open up the blueprints to know that if there's major flooding in the first five compartments, the ship could not be saved. but, yes, there were five compartments open, it would go down. as far as the other question, if titanic had not turned away but had struck the iceberg head on,
what would have happened? it would have made a few headlines. titanic struck iceberg on her maiden voyage, seriously damaged and being towed to halifax or something. it would have survived. unfortunately, a lot of the firemen trimmers and degreasers whose quarters were stationed up in that area of the ship would not have survived. but obviously that's the price that would have been paid. but there's no ship handler in the world that would allow a ship to go head on. i think what murdoch had done was try to mitigate the damage by taking the action he did. i believe, first of all, somebody didn't ask me, but why a 30-second delay? why not act sooner? turns out that if he would have -- in order to avoid the iceberg all together, further research shows that would he have had to have made a decision within 15 seconds of the warning for the ship to just clear the berg.
anything less than that, the iceberg would have struck. and it turns out that if he would have waited 20 seconds, the iceberg instead of hitting the bow would have hit near the stern which would have caused more damage. if he waited 25 seconds, it would have hit about mid ship where the engine room and boiler rooms are and we could have had another costa concordia problem except there's no place it go, out in the middle of the ocean. the ship would have probably capsized and sank within an hour or so or maybe less. it could have been a lot worse than it really was. so my own feeling is that he did the best under the circumstances that he can by taking the action he could. he just, you know, it's just unfortunate that five compartments were open to the sea. if they would have been four, we would have been okay. okay. yes. >> you told us about the human cost of the tragedy. what about the financial cost, cost of the ship, any litigation from the families of those that were lost?
>> that's not exactly my area of expertise, but they did have in 1913 through 1915, they had a bunch of what we call limitation of liability hearings that occurred right here in washington, d.c., where whitestar line was asking the courts to limit its liability in the loss of titanic. and i just don't have the numbers in terms of what all that was. probably one of the biggest costs to whitestar line was they lost one of three major ships that would have been a trio of giant ships to run the service between -- the north atlantic service. but they also had to do extensive modifications to olympic and pritanic and i think the number is somewhere like 6.50 million pounds, which in those days was a tremendous amount of money. >> what was the cost of the titanic to build it? >> i don't know that. but it is in the book.
that section i think was handled by bruce beverage and steve hall in chapter three. it's there. >> sam, i've got your last question. we know that there was the loss of a better word discrimination i guess between first, second and steerage class passengers. as far as getting onto the lifeboats. didn't that also occur after the tragedy when ships like the bennett went out to collect the bodies, that the first and second class passengers were treated much differently than the steerage class passengers that were found? >> let me answer the first part of the question in terms of the steerage treated differently to get into the lifeboats. it wasn't so much treated differently if they made it up to the lifeboats, in terms of women and children. okay. they were treat eed differentlyy the fact that a lot of the
steerage couldn't even make it up to the boat deck. and one of the things that we deal with in the book is the hindrances to third class in reaching the boat deck in the first place. things like, we talk about the possibility of locked gates and guarded gates where you'd have crew members stationed there saying, no, you cannot come up here, you cannot come up here now, we have to wait for orders to let you up here. we have a lot of that. we cover that very much in detail in appendix "j" of the book. really new stuff dealing with the problem of locked gates and so forth. as far as how the recovery process by the mckay bennett, we don't get into that at all in the book. and i am not familiar with how the treatment was between a first and second class body being recovered and third class. so i would rather not comment on that. >> okay. i just had heard that first